|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
This collection is arranged in a single series.
Scope and Contents
The Marjory Belisch Hall papers are a small collection of material documenting the life and career of journalist, homesteader, and clinical psychologist Marjory Belisch Hall (1905-1967). The collection includes personal journals written in 1920 during a European tour, when Hall was 15 years old. (Some choice entries include descriptions of the Folies Bergere, World War I trenches, and a dinner party at the mansion belonging to Lord Leverhulme, founder of Lever Brothers.) The bulk of the collection is composed of clippings of newspaper articles written by Hall between 1928 and 1931. Their form and subject matter ranges from interviews with notables of the day, including Eddie Cantor and Alfred Adler; science pieces (" Men's vs. Women's Brains" and "Bald Birds Luckier Than Men"); and sensationalized accounts of tragedy colloquially known as "sob sister" pieces. Newspapers at the time typically inflated staff numbers by having reporters use different bylines. As a result, sometimes her articles appear with her name; sometimes they appear under pseudonyms. These materials are almost all located in Box 2.
Following the end of Hall's newspaper career and the death of her husband in 1945, Hall became a homesteader in upstate New York; a narrative detailing her experience is located in Box 1, Folder 4. Box 1 also contains some family correspondence and photographs, including material related to Carroll Rheinstrom, with whom she had an extramarital affair in 1932. Hall's Master of arts thesis and doctoral dissertation in clinical psychology, "Masculinity of Boys As Related to Family Variables," is also located in Box 1. Finally, there is an obituary of Hall and a biographical sketch by her daughter, Marny Hall.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Conditions Governing Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
Original news clippings from the late 1920s and early 1930s in Box 2, Folders 1-6 are extremely fragile. Researchers should use full color photocopies in Box 2, Folders 7-8.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Conditions Governing Use
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Marjory Belisch Hall Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Richard Hall papers: Personal papers of Marjory Belisch Hall's son, Richard Hall. At the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University.
Marny Hall papers: Professional papers of Marjory Belisch Hall's daughter, Marny Hall, a lesbian psychotherapist, researcher and writer. In the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History, Smith College.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Marny Hall, 2021.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Collection material was placed in acid free folders and archival storage containers and arranged following its order upon arrival at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. This organization seems to have been created by Marny Hall, daughter of Marjory Belisch Hall and donor of the collection. Because the collection's newspaper clippings were in very poor condition, Marny Hall also had them reproduced in full color on acid free paper prior to the collection's arrival at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. These copies are located in Box 2, Folders 7 and 8.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Marjory Belisch Hall (1905-1967) was a tabloid journalist and clinical psychologist who studied gender roles in children during the early 1960s.
Marjory Belisch was born in Austin, Texas, on January 5, 1905. Her parents, Lily and Karl Belisch, were affluent members of Austin's Jewish community. Her maternal grandfather, Bernard Melasky, was a Confederate veteran and cofounder of Austin's first synagogue. Marjory completed high school at age 14 and attended the University of Pennsylvania for one year before returning to Austin, where she graduated from the University of Texas. She married Irving Hirschfeld, a distant relative by marriage, in 1924, and moved to the Upper East Side of New York City. They had three children, Eleanor, Richard, and Marjory.
Marjory worked as a newspaper and magazine journalist at Hearst newspapers from 1928 until 1931. Her work, much of it sensationalized accounts of tragedies—as she explained in her 1931 story "A Sob Sister Speaks Out"—appeared in outlets including the Brooklyn Eagle and the Literary Digest. She retired from journalism at her husband's request following a 1932 affair with her fellow journalist Carroll Rheinstrom. A young Dorothy Kilgallen was hired as her replacement.
In the late 1930s, she converted to Christianity and collaborated with her family members to conceal their Jewish heritage, including changing the family last name from Hirschfeld to Hall. She even altered her 1920 European travel diaries to remove Yiddish terminology.
Marjory's youngest daughter, also named Marjory and called "Marny," was born in 1944. Irving died of a heart attack in 1945. Marjory moved to a farm in upstate New York, near her sister.
Marjory entered graduate school at Claremont Graduate University in the late 1950s, where she studied psychology. Marjory Belisch Hall completed a Master of Arts degree in 1960 and a PhD in clinical psychology in 1965. She worked briefly as a clinical psychologist with institutionalized children before her death from cancer in 1967.